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Worst year on record for tourism as 1bn fewer arrivals recorded in 2020

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said last year was the worst on record for the global tourism industry. Perhaps unsurprisingly, with the worst global pandemic for more than 100 years, a billion fewer "arrivals" were recorded in 2020.

But the comparable scale of the drop in passenger numbers becomes clear when seen in relation to the most recent global dip in passenger numbers โ€“ after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

In 2009, global tourist arrival numbers dropped by 4 percent. In 2020, the fall was 74 percent.

Some regions and monthly figures were even lower. According to Eurostat, the European Union's official statistics organization, arrivals in the EU fell by 95 percent in April 2020.

While the vaccine drive is helping to revive consumer confidence, it is unclear what the tourism industry will look like by the time people want to โ€“ or are allowed to โ€“ fly long-haul for holidays again.

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